South Carolina bill targets left-lane slowpokes

December 14, 2020

Keith Goble


A renewed effort at the South Carolina statehouse is intended to further discourage slowpokes hanging out in the far left lane of highways.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the National Motorists Association say that blocking the left lane, whether intentional or not, results in reduced road safety and efficiency.

South Carolina law requires any vehicle moving at less than the normal speed of traffic to stay to the right. Exceptions to the lane rule are made for situations that include preparing to turn or to overtake and pass another vehicle.

Violators face fines of up to $100.

More deterrent for left-lane laggards

Republican Reps. Jay West of Anderson, Murrell Smith Jr. of Sumter, and Gary Simrill of York say the deterrent is not enough to discourage the behavior.

The three lawmakers have filed a bill to double the fine amount to $200 and attach a two-point violation for improper driving in the left lane.

An exception would be made for commercial driver’s license holders. Truck drivers found in violation would face $50 fines. No points would be assessed against his or her driving record.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation would also be responsible for posting signs along interstates to alert travelers of the left lane law.

An estimated 128 signs would be installed along the state’s interstates at a cost of $24,000, according to a fiscal impact statement.

Trying again

The three legislators offered the same bill during the 2020 regular session. The bill did not receive a House floor vote.

A similar Senate left lane bill, however, did advance from that chamber, but it was sidelined in the House when the session was suspended in March due to concerns about the pandemic.

The 2021 version, H3011, has been referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee for the regular session that convenes on Jan. 12. LL

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